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Daniel J. Koning

Daniel J. Koning and fault
Dan Koning at fault.
Senior Field Geologist
New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources
New Mexico Tech
801 Leroy Place
Socorro, NM 87801-4796
Phone: 575-835-6950

I am a tenured, senior field geologist whose duties primarily entail: 1) geologic mapping, 2) providing the geologic and stratigraphic framework for hydrogeologic studies, 3) geohazards (mainly regarding paleoseismicity and landslide risk assessment), 4) assisting graduate students in their research, and 5) interfacing and communicating with the public and scientific community about research and other topics the NM Bureau of Geology deems relevant. My geologic mapping specializes in basin fill and Quaternary sediment in addition to landslides, faulting, and geomorphic features; but I also have gained much experience mapping volcanic rocks and Cretaceous strata. Constructing a geologic framework for hydrogeologic studies involves synthesizing geologic mapping, previous work, and well interpretation. In addition to communication relative to the aforementioned topics, I write and speak about my interests in fluvial evolution, fault evolution, and how tectonics and climate affect basin-fill stratigraphy and geomorphic processes.

Why I've Got Such a Cool Job!

My job allows me to tackle some really interesting geologic problems, such as where ancient rivers were located and when various fault lines were active, which in turn can be used to locate and describe modern groundwater aquifers and assess earthquake hazards. It's fun to interact with the public about geology. Plus, you can't beat field mapping — when you get to hike around somewhere in beautiful New Mexico and decipher thousands or millions of years of the Earth's history.

soft sediment deformation
Swirly liquifaction sedimentary features in the Santa Fe Group, eastern Rio Puerco Valley, related to an earthquake ~13.5 million years ago.

Education and previous positions

  • M.S., Geology, University of New Mexico, 1999
  • Staff geologist, EMCON, San Bernardino, California, 1994-1996
  • B.S., Geology, University of California at Riverside, 1994


  • Geologic mapping of basin fill and Quaternary deposits.
  • Interpreting sedimentary depositional environments, geomorphic processes, and depositional/erosional history from field-based study of outcrops and landforms — particularly those related to arid to semi-arid, intra-continental basins.
  • Integrating field-based studies with multi-disciplinary datasets to interpret tectonic and paleoclimatic controls on basin sedimentation, surface erosion, depositional facies distribution, and unconformities.
  • Stratigraphy of the Santa Fe Group in the Rio Grande rift.
  • Geomorphology of piedmonts
  • Landslide and rock fall mapping

Current Projects

  • Detailed (1:1200 scale) geologic mapping for paleoseismic study along the Pajarito fault near Los Alamos (as part of a larger effort led by Lettis Consultants International).
  • Constructing a landslide susceptibility map for New Mexico (with Colin Cikoski).
  • Geologic mapping and colluvium volume estimates for the middle to upper reaches of Santa Clara Canyon, west of Española in northern New Mexico.
  • Geologic mapping of the Palomas Basin, at a scale of 1:24000, under the New Mexico STATEMAP program.
  • Geologic mapping along the Rio Puerco Valley west of Albuquerque.
  • Sedimentologic and stratigraphic study of Santa Fe Group Basin fill, in the EspaƱola and Albuquerque Basins, to understand tectonic and climatic controls on mid-late Miocene clastic deposition in an active rift setting.
  • Understanding climatic controls on alluvial fan deposition in the eastern Tularosa Basin.
  • Characterizing and understanding the structural accommodation zone between the San Luis and Española basins.

Professional Affiliations

Graduate students

  • Johnny Rae Hinojosa — Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico Tech
    Work-in-progress on Master's thesis related to subsurface stratigraphy along the Loma Blanca fault and implications for groundwater flow.
  • Eda Celep — Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico Tech
    MastersThesis: Lithofacies analysis of the Sierra Ladrones Formation near the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters (southern Albuquerque Basin, N.M.): Implications for Cliff fault activity in the early Pleistocene
    Additional Advisors: Dave Love, Jolante Van Wijk, Gary Axen
  • Logan Roberts — Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico Tech
    Reconstructing the paleogeography and Laramide tectonic setting of the basin associated with the Cub Mountain Formation. Major advisor: Daniel Koning. Discontinued in June of 2016.

Awards and Honors

  • Outstanding Student Research Award, Geological Society of America, 1998
  • Arthur D. Howard Research Grant, Geological Society of America, 1997
  • Tenure granted on September 21, 2015.
  • John C. Frye Memorial Award in Environmental Geology, in recognition of the outstanding publication: "Geology and hydrology of groundwater-fed springs and wetlands at La Cienega, Santa Fe County, New Mexico." Presented September 2016 at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America.

Publications (see CV and links above)